According to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, nearly 19% of the children in Allegheny County suffer from food insecurity. In numbers, that is over 45,000 or 1 in 5 children who do not have enough food to eat every day. In an average Propel classroom of 24 students, that means that at minimum, 4 -5 children are hungry. As teachers, we are continually encouraging our students to strive to be their best. By providing food for our students, they will be able to focus on their school work instead of having to worry on Fridays how, or if, there will be sufficient food for Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, teachers will be able to witness students coming in on Mondays who are better prepared to tackle the week ahead because they had sufficient food to eat over the weekend.
The seeds for Propel Provides and East Eats began early in 2015 after I saw how many students were hungry for breakfast. As a classroom teacher, I had never before had a reason to go into the cafeteria to witness breakfast on a daily basis. Last year, however, I was given “breakfast duty” at Propel Pitcairn. It was then that I realized how hungry our students are every morning. Throughout my years at Propel, I have witnessed many teachers who have personally provided food for students during the school day. After speaking to several individuals, and researching available programs, I was put in contact with Propel’s Community Liaison, Eric Ewell. Eric, FOCUS, and a group of five devoted East parent volunteers have worked to get our program up and running.
The food program can only continue with the help, and support of continual donations. Propel Provides and East Eats was named by attendees at the Bowling Fundraiser that was held in August. We held a school raffle for a Pirate basket that included tickets to a game. Propel East minion shirts were sold in September, and will be sold again in January. Each month there is a hat/jeans day as a fundraiser. The week before Halloween there is a fundraiser at Five Below. Propel East will earn 10% of any purchase when the buyer presents a special coupon. Propel Provides and East Eats has a GoFundMe page that is easy to access through FaceBook.
Over the next few months, plans are also being made to hold special nights at selected local restaraunts to raise money for the program.